Poppies! A Personal (and Customer) Favorite

Spring Melody California Poppy Blend

I absolutely love seeing what our customers grow when they post photos of their pride-filled first harvests, blooms, and new discoveries and tag us on social media with #botanicalinterests. Of all of our varieties, poppies get the most attention from paparazzi. Their stunning, spring blooms have a delicate, crepe-paper texture, but the plants themselves are tough as nails, enjoying full sun, drought conditions, and poor soil (except the Oriental type), and thankfully, deer leave them alone.

Here is a little breakdown of the different types of poppies:

‘Mikado’ California Poppies

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are native to the US and are grown as reseeding annuals if they aren’t perennial in your area (USDA zone 8 to 10). These lovely, 6″–12″ tall flowers are not only orange, but also white, yellow, red and pink, with single and double blooms.  They bloom from spring until fall, taking a break in very hot spells.

Shirley Single Blend Corn Poppies

 

 

 

Corn Poppies (Papaver rhoeas) are annuals that often reseed, persisting year after year. Flanders and Shirley poppies also fall into this group. Corn poppies were at one time naturalized as they often sprouted in European agricultural fields.

 

Iceland Poppies

 

 

 

Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaulei) is also grown as an annual, although it can overwinter in USDA zones 2 to 8. It’s not necessarily a long-lived perennial, but it could reseed. As the name would imply, Iceland poppies thrive in cool weather and flower in spring. Their 3″ blooms on 24″ tall stems make wonderful cut flowers. They are not fussy, only needing average soil with good drainage. Afternoon shade can help keep them cool, prolonging the bloom period, too.

Oriental Poppy

 

Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale) are hardy perennials in USDA zone 3 to 8. Their foliage emerges early in the spring and looks thistle-like, growing to 24″–48″ tall by the time their large, 4″–8″ blooms open in late spring. After they bloom, the foliage declines, but cutting it close to the ground will restart the growing process and may even sprout new flower buds, too. Oriental poppies thrive in average to rich, well-drained soil.

‘Black Swan’ Breadseed Poppy

 

 

Breadseed Poppies (Papaver somniferum) are annual, but also reseed. These 24″–36″ poppies also have thistle-like foliage which stands out with its bluish-green hue. As you may have guessed, this group includes the types that produce culinary poppy seeds.

 

 

 

My first choice for sowing poppies is in the fall, and second is late winter to very early spring. They don’t require stratification (a cold moist period, aka winter) but come up earlier, grow larger, and seem to put on more flowers when I sow them in fall. For mild climates, fall is ideal so that they flower as early as possible in your area. I loosen the soil with a hard rake or hoe, leveling the area at the same time. I sow the seeds and rake them in very lightly with a gentler leaf rake or just pat the seeds down with my hands. The coming snow and rain works the seeds in a little further. Then I just ignore them (really, I do!) until it is time to thin the seedlings.

While poppies make stunning cut flowers, there is a little trick to getting them to stay beautiful.  When the stem is cut, sap seeps out, preventing water from being taken up. To resolve this issue, dip the ends of cut stems in boiling water for 10 seconds or briefly singe over a flame to stop the milky sap flow.

Do you have a favorite poppy cultivar that completes your garden? Tell us about it in the comments or tag us in photo posts on social media using #botanicalinterests so we can see it!

Cover Crop, Growing Soil Health!

Fava beans turned into the soil

How and why I use cover crops in my garden.

I like to take chances. As co-owner I wear a lot of hats at Botanical Interests but one of the most exciting ones for me is when I can be creative with new products. Several years ago, we added a few cover crops in garden-sized seed packets hoping that gardeners would take advantage of this long-time, organic, agricultural-scale practice in their small plots. The response makes my heart sing! Not only did the packets sell, they also have created so many conversations with customers wanting to know more!

Buckwheat

Cover crops or “green manures” have gone hand in hand with agricultural practices for a long time and were even documented by the Roman poet, Virgil, in 29BC. Cover crops naturally re-enrich soil, protect it from erosion due to rain or wind, improve its texture, and feed soil organisms which maintain a healthy ecosystem in the soil. As gardeners, our success is directly tied to the soil in a very tangible way, but looking at the bigger picture, soil health impacts all its inhabitants.

“History is largely a record of human struggle to wrest the land from nature, because man relies for sustenance on the products of the soil. So direct, is the relationship between soil erosion, the productivity of the land, and the prosperity of people, that the history of mankind, to a considerable degree at least, may be interpreted in terms of the soil and what has happened to it as the result of human use.” – Hugh H. Bennett and W.C. Lowdermilk, 1930s

Can you tell I am passionate about soil yet?

Pea from Peas and Oats Mix

Our current cover crop selection gives options for spring, summer, and fall cover crop growing. Any of the cover crops you choose to grow and turn into the bed will contribute organic material just due to their vegetation decomposing, and they will also work to stifle annual weeds by shading them out. Oats (peas and oats) and buckwheat, however, are “allelopathic”, meaning they naturally exude chemicals that prevent weeds from growing. The magic in this is that when weed seeds begin to germinate the allelopathic chemical stifles the new roots as they emerge which reduces the weed seeds in your soil. Leguminous cover crops like peas and oats (spring or fall but best in fall), fava beans (spring or fall) or crimson clover (spring or fall) fix nitrogen from the air, trapping it in their roots for the next plants to use. Nitrogen contributes to the green growth of plants and is the nutrient we need to add most often in the garden because it is a gas and moves about. Buckwheat (late spring through summer possibly fall, thrives in warm weather) is excellent at mining the soil for phosphorus, which contributes to root, flower, and fruit growth, which it then releases to plants as it decomposes.

Crimson Clover

Here is how I use cover crops. In spring I sow crimson clover under my fruit trees to enrich the soil and call in the pollinators, and as a bonus, it is adorable!In July, after harvesting my garlic, I sow buckwheat over the bed, chopping it down once I see about a third of it in flower (I don’t want it to reseed) allowing it to regrow. I cut the buckwheat two or three times, letting the cut parts lie on the soil as a mulch, until I turn them in later. Late in summer when my sweet corn or other warm-season crops are done, I sow fava or peas and oats in their place to enrich the soil. A heavy frost will kill the peas and oats, but favas will keep going until it gets persistently cold (below 20°F). I let the dead vegetation stand until spring; the roots hold the soil in place, shade the soil which preserves moisture, and feed microorganisms over winter. I have even used cover crops in newly created beds, giving them some nutrition and keeping the weeds at bay while I decide what to sow. A healthy soil is a soil covered in something living. With few exceptions, a bare patch of soil will quickly be covered with vegetation which nurtures and protects it. Gardening with cover crops is a way we can pick beneficial plants to cover that bare patch.

“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all.” – Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America, 1977

Read more information on cover crops and how to choose the right cover crop for your organic gardening goals in our article, Cover Crops for a Naturally Better Garden.

Have you been using cover crops in your garden? Share your insight and experience in the comments below!

5 Reasons to Grow from Seed in a Container

Containers are great for small space gardeners or gardeners that want create more growing space (some of us can never get enough!). A patio or balcony suddenly becomes an extension of the garden or a little oasis off an apartment. Some of my friends’ children are now adults (when did this happen?!) and as they move away from the nest to an apartment or condo, space is often limited, but they miss the peace of the garden back home. Gardening from seed in containers is a simple, inexpensive way for them to create something green to nurture that will nurture them in return.

  1. Containers are portable. You can bring your containers indoors for warmer germination temperatures, to protect plants from frost, or move plants to capture ideal sun conditions throughout the season. This is also a great asset when renting. You can bring your plants with you if you move!
  2. Plants perform best when direct sown. There are lots of variety options to direct sow in containers. Sowing seeds in the place they will grow (versus transplanting) will give you stronger, healthier plants.
  3. You can better control the growing conditions by choosing a quality growing medium (potting soil) and organic fertilizers without the testing and trial and error that is often needed with permanent gardens.
  4. Add space! If you are a veteran gardener and already have your plot planned, containers give you a chance to try something new without having to change your garden design.
  5. Sowing from seed saves lots of money, saving your dough while you enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally. Most gardeners, including me, would say there really is something magical about growing from seed. You put a tiny “rock” in the soil and before you know it you are harvesting a boatload of cucumber!

Click here for container friendly varieties. Now to choose a container! See our article Choosing a Container for tips. Share your container gardening experiences, tips or questions in the comments below.

Happy container gardening!

Favorite Heirloom Stories

heirloom on seed packet

One of the reasons I started Botanical Interests was to continue the tradition of passing down gardening and plant knowledge to future generations of gardeners. Heirloom varieties fall into that same romantic notion—knowing that the seeds I’m sowing today are the “children” of the seeds sown generations ago. Whenever we find a good story, we include it on the seed packet. Here are some of my favorites.

Walla Walla’ onion: Peter Pieri, a French soldier, brought Italian sweet onion seeds from the Island of Corsica to the Walla Walla Valley in Washington in the late 1800s, hoping to sell them as green onions. Unfortunately, Pieri wasn’t able to sell the whole crop, so much of the onion crop was left in the field over the winter. He was surprised that the onions survived the winter, growing into a robust, large, slicing onion, and reseeded the following summer, making ‘Walla Walla’ one of the most cold hardy onions!

‘Padrón’ chile pepper: The ‘Padrón’ pepper became well known as a Spanish pepper but it was actually brought from South America in the 1700s by Spanish monks who cultivated it at their monastery near Padrón. There is now an annual festival held on the first Saturday in August in the parish of Herbón, in Padrón, Spain where everyone can taste these famous peppers. There is a local saying, “Los pimientos de Herbón (Padrón), unos pican y otros no,” which means “Herbón (Padrón) peppers, some are hot, others not”.

Jimmy Nardello’ sweet pepper: Guiseppe and Angela Nardiello of Southern Italy grew this pepper each year in their homeland, and in 1887 they immigrated to Connecticut, bringing the seeds of their beloved pepper. Their son Jimmy continued to grow and preserve this unique variety, eventually sharing it with the public before his passing in 1983. Since its release, it has gained a big following of foodies, chefs, and gardeners alike. Over the years, the spelling of the Nardiello name changed, but the flavor of ‘Jimmy Nardello’ persists, gaining it an entry into Slow Foods USA® Ark of Taste catalog in 2005 as a cultivar to preserve due to its rich, unique flavor.

Miss Jekyll’ love-in-a-mist: Gertrude Jekyll was a 20th century, influential garden designer and botanical painter, who used her knowledge to experiment with garden designs, specifically with perspective and complementary colors. Maybe for this reason she preferred to call herself a “garden artist” rather than a “garden designer.” But it was in her younger years that she selected and bred plants, including the love-in-a-mist that bears her name, primroses, foxgloves, and lupines. And perhaps her name sounds familiar? Gertrude’s younger brother was friends with the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, who borrowed their name for his famous novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Russell Blend lupine: This stately mix of lupines was developed after decades of breeding work by George Russell (1857–1951) of York, England. He grew several species of lupines and let the bees pollinate the flowers. At the end of each season, he saved seeds from the plants he liked, always removing the plants he felt were inferior. He did this year after year, keeping seeds from only those plants with denser, larger flowers in bright colors and fast maturity. Russell was rewarded for his work at the age of 80 with honors from the Royal Horticultural Society, and an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire certificate) at the age of 94. His breeding efforts made it possible for gardeners in mild climates to also enjoy lupines, as previously the available lupines needed a winter period to perform well.

‘American Legion’ flanders poppy: Long known as the corn poppy because it flourishes as a weed in the grain fields of Europe, the Flanders poppy as it is now often called, grew profusely in the trenches and craters of the WWI war zone of historical Flanders Field along the coast of Belgium and France. Lt. Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Army field surgeon was inspired to write the poem, “In Flanders Fields” after the burial of his friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer who was killed in battle. The corn poppy has since become a symbol of wartime remembrance. The significance results from the fact that on the World War I battlefields of the Flanders region, poppies sprang up in abundance to blanket the fields with a sea of red. The red poppy is symbolic of the blood that was shed there. (368 U.S. soldiers from World War I are buried in Flanders Field cemetery in Belgium.) In 1920, the American Legion adopted this red poppy as its memorial flower. This packet is dedicated to those men and women who fought for the Allies during the two World Wars; as time passes, the number of men and women from that unique generation dwindles. We must not forget the lessons they learned. We must strive to hear the stories they tell, and respect the price they paid for future generations to be free.

Which are you favorites? Share with us!

Online-Exclusive Varieties

‘Black Pearl’ ornamental pepper

Sometimes I find some really fun items that I just have to have, but that you will only find in our online store.

If you’re a daredevil looking for the next hot pepper, try the ‘Bhut Jolokia’ Ghost pepper for real heat intensity or the ‘Scotch Bonnet’ for Caribbean dishes. I really love to surprise people with the Rat Tail radish; a radish you grow for their flavorful seed pods that grow above ground! If you’re looking for impressive ornamentals, ‘Black Dragon’ coleus will definitely please, and it is one of my favorite shade plants. ‘Purple Majesty’ ornamental millet is also a show-stopper as the center of attention in containers, and kids love the fuzzy flower spikes.

We also have a few dozen, themed collections that I have hand-picked to speak to specific gardeners’ needs and wants. For example, the Frost-Tolerant Vegetables and Southern Kitchen collections are created for the cold-climate and warm-climate gardeners respectively, while the Children’s Garden collection features seeds that are easy to handle and/or grow, even for the youngest gardener. My personal favorite is the Moon Garden collection, which includes bright white and night-scented blooms that glow in the moonlight.

I hunted to bring you what I consider the best hand tools—Burgon & Ball tools.  They are endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society (one of the world’s leading horticultural organizations), and are functional with a classic design. I use them in my own garden, so I wanted to bring them to you. There are also soil thermometers to help you determine the best time to sow for maximum germination and a beautiful seed packet storage bin that comes in blue or burgundy.

So take a look around, experiment, I hope you find the perfect variety to make your garden, cuisine, or vase uniquely you!

Top 5 Reasons to Garden from Seed

Gardening from seedGardening from seed has big advantages

Even though I have gardened from seed since childhood, the experience of taking what looks like a tiny stone, sowing it, and watching it grow still seems magical; it is faith realized, and it nurtures me as I nurture it. While sometimes that inspiration is all I need to garden from seed, there are some other very important reasons, too.

  1. Know what you grow. Did you know that many of the conventionally-grown vegetables at the grocery store test positive for pesticide residue even after washing and peeling? Growing your own allows you to choose what goes into your family’s food. Here is a list of vegetables that are the worst offenders when it comes to pesticide residue.
  2. Save money. Growing from seed is much less expensive than buying plants or produce, especially organic choices. For example, most food gardeners I know grow green beans because the quality is so much better than the grocery store and they are a pretty easy crop (they also add nitrogen to the soil!). A seed packet of bush beans sows about 12 feet of bean plants which will yield about 5 lb. of beans. The cost of the packet is $2.39. A six pack of plants will run you $3-4 and plants 2′ (pssst green beans don’t transplant well so expect lower yields). Five pounds of (less than fresh) green beans at the grocery store will cost around $11. Did we mention the seeds in our example are certified organic?
  3. More choices. Grocery stores and garden centers offer only a fraction of available selections. Gardening from seed gives you the option to grow something unique, exotic, or rare.
  4. Reduce plant stress. In many cases sowing seeds in place versus transplanting from greenhouse-started plants leads to quick, stress-free growth, meaning faster, and often more flowers and more fruit, especially in the case of root crops of plants sensitive to root disturbance.
  5. Perfect timing. There are advantages to starting some crops early, usually vegetables that tolerate transplanting and take a long time to mature, like peppers, onions, or tomatoes. Starting these indoors gives me a head start in my shorter growing season, as I would never see a pepper if I sowed it directly outdoors.

I can’t tell you how many times I have wandered out to the garden saying, “Let’s see what’s for dinner.” I slow down from my busy day when I stroll out to the garden with a glass of wine and my favorite wooden bowl to see what peaks my culinary interest that evening. Such a personal reward for all my elbow grease in the garden!

What inspires you to grow from seed? Share your inspiration with our growing community in the comments below.

Choosing a Container

Container gardening is a growing trend as new gardeners start out, and veteran gardeners look to expand their growing opportunities. Almost anything can be a container. Upcycling buckets, watering cans, and wine barrels are great ideas. But I’ve seen some great containers made from tree stumps, baking pans, bags, and nylons! Just be sure they’re clean, have drainage, and are the right size and material for your needs. See our Creative Containers blog for some inspiration.

growing containers

SIZE.  Bigger containers hold more soil, and therefore, potentially more water and nutrients. This gives your plants more resources and room to grow, while also reducing how often you need to water.

Lastly, size has two dimensions—volume and depth. If you are growing long- or deep-rooted things, like carrots or Echinacea, in a container, then your plants will be better served by a deep pot than a wide, shallow one.

What’s the right size? Picture a wine barrel. One half of a wine barrel holds about 20 gallons of soil. That’s enough for 1 pole/large, or 2 bush/small tomato plants, or about 10 bush bean plants, or 6–8 heads of lettuce, or about 3 pepper plants. For flowers look to the mature size of the plants. If you want an airy look, give them a little more space. If you want your container fuller and spilling over, then give them a little less space. I tend to ambitiously jam them in, fertilize, and let them fight it out.

Lastly on size—volume and depth. If you are growing long- or deep-rooted things, like carrots or echinacea, in a container, then your plants will be better served by a deep pot (18” or more) than a wide, shallow one.

DRAINAGE. Let me say it again, DRAINAGE. Make sure that your containers have a few holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out. Containers that don’t drain lead to soggy soil that suffocates plants’ roots. If your container is watertight (and it’s not a water garden) drill some holes in the bottom. Test water the pot to make sure it drains; you may need to add a couple bricks or risers to the bottoms to raise the pot off the ground.

MATERIAL. Almost anything can be a container if you consider the material’s performance.  For example, unglazed terra cotta is porous, allowing water to escape through the side of the container. This is helpful if you live in a wet area, are growing dry-loving plants, or tend to over-water, as it will release the extra water as necessary. But it could be challenging if your containers are small or you live in a windy or dry area, which would evaporate the water more. By comparison, plastic or glazed pots resist evaporation.

growing containers

CLEANLINESS. If you are reusing or repurposing a container, be sure to clean it thoroughly. Scrub away all dirt and debris. Wash it well and if you want to get it really clean, rinse it with hydrogen peroxide or a 1:10 bleach solution, or if you have the time, let your clean containers bake in the sun for a week before filling them with soil.

Once you’re set up, you’ll be a container gardener in no time!

 

5 Gardening Resolutions for 2018

Garden planning and resolutions 2018

2018 is knocking at the door, and seed starting is right around the corner. Our holiday break gave me some time to reflect on how I can improve my gardening practices this coming year, in other words, resolutions!

  1. Get Organized

When it comes to getting organized, I always start out with a shopping list and a calendar. When I first started planning my garden years ago, these sowing guides helped me create my first planting calendar, and from there, I make tiny changes year to year based on my notes, like, “Sowed beans too soon; wait another week or use a soil thermometer to be sure.” I also record what I started and when in my garden journal, but where I need improvement is remembering to write down my gardening whims. The best part about gardening is the delight and creativity in doing the unplanned, but I typically forget to record it. The same goes for recording things like first blooms, butterflies, and harvests. Recording my garden observations will give me a fun goal for improvement in the following year and will slow me down and make me take time to observe the garden. So I don’t forget, I am putting my garden journal right by the back door next to my gloves and dirt-covered garden boots—voilá!

  1. Discover Something New

I have been gardening so long, I admittedly have a list of favorites. I love my tried-and-true varieties, but each year, I reserve some space to experiment so that I may find some brand-new loves! Keeping notes on these newbies will be especially important, too. Last year, I tried popcorn, but this year it may be our new Utrecht Blue wheat, Parisian Gherkin cucumbers, or a giant pumpkin! Just thinking about them makes me excited!

  1. Grow Natives

In the West (and everywhere), pollinator habitats and water resources are big issues. By adding natives to my garden collection, I am providing pollinators with high-quality habitat and food, while adding beautiful but tough plants that need less care and often, less water. Natives are a “win-win” for your home garden.

  1. Share More Veggies

This year, one of my resolutions is to grow more so I can share more of my vegetable and herb garden bounty with friends and the community. Fresh vegetables are sparse in the food banks, and since I have such a full, edible garden, it’s a no-brainer to give. Successive sowing of vegetables and herbs, keeps the harvest going strong all season, too. More to give! So, whether you grow extra veggies to give to food banks, practice Meatless Mondays, or just for the peace of mind of knowing where and how your food is grown, we can all benefit from making the edible portion of our gardens bigger. Check our Seed to Saucepan blog for some fresh recipe ideas, too!

  1. Container Gardening

I’m also going to add more containers to my gardening plan. I plan on mixing form and function by combining container-friendly vegetables, herbs, and flowers, celebrating the senses with scented herbs and blossoms that call in the pollinators for the veggies.  Containers also keep plants warmer in the summer, something peppers and other heat-loving vegetables will appreciate with our cool nights in Colorado, not to mention they creating cozy outdoor rooms, perfect for entertaining or just relaxing with family.

Phew! That’s a tall order of gardening resolutions, but I’m certainly up for the challenge. Our faithful customers inspire us, too! What are your gardening resolutions? Please share in the comments below.

2018 New Seed Varieties!

Judy Seaborn 2018 catalog

Another year of gardening inspiration is just around the corner (I choose to ignore the cold weather that is coming), and I am so excited to share our 2018 new seed varieties with you! The new catalog should be turning up in mailboxes soon, but I can’t wait to give you a sneak peek at my new loves.

Chocolate! Well, chocolate isn’t a new love of mine, but some of our new “chocolate” varieties are. We’re excited for you to find a spot in your garden for Chocolate and Cream Love-in-a-Mist with its pure white petals and cocoa-colored stamens, breathe in the chocolate aroma of Chocolate flower, savor the Chocolate Cherry tomato (it’s gracing the catalog cover this year) that you won’t be able to resist eating right from the garden, and revel in the Chocolate Gardener’s Scrubbing Soap.

We strive to add varieties that are not only successful for home gardeners like you, but that are also unique. Two new heirloom peppers have us dreaming up new recipes–Shishito’ chile pepper and Jimmy Nardello’ sweet pepper–while rich and dramatic flowers have us craving the boldness of color–Black Velvet Nasturtium and Shock-O-Lat Sunflower. The three new sprouts, Purple Kohlrabi, Ancient Grains Mix, and Red Clover keep my Botanical Interests Seed Sprouter very busy!

I’m so happy to share the catalog, because we couldn’t do any of this without you! Throughout the catalog, you’ll read customer testimonials about their favorite variety that inspires them–the color and dimension of sunflowers, the majesty of amaranth, and the incredible length of squash and tomato vines. The catalog also has new tips and growing information! You’ll find how to successively sow lettuce for salads all season, the best way to transplant tomato seedlings, and a little trick to sowing flower mixes (you’ll have to read the catalog!) We also added some fun facts, like the history of sweet peas, how cosmos got its name, and why some peppers are spicier than others.

We know you’ll find something you’ll love to grow this year!

Stop and Enjoy the Wildflowers

In the words of the late, great Tom Petty, “You belong among the wildflowers… Far away from your trouble and worries / You belong somewhere you feel free.” Whenever I hear this song, I picture myself among gently swaying blooms that form a new, unique tapestry, every day, without fail. Wildflowers are the details along a well-beaten path that make it seem somehow different and interesting every time you visit, not only by their blossoms, but through the rainbow of pollinators and other wildlife visitors they call in and sustain.

I have been reflecting on how our lives have become so busy, and I wish I could slow us all down so we could experience the wildflowers hitting that reset button in our brains. I may not have figured out how to slow down the entire world, but what I can do is provide native wildflower seeds (and easy growing instructions) so you can create a little retreat of your own.

Native plants are among the most care-free of any blooms you can grow. They are tough and able to grow without much attention, including being drought tolerant, which gives you more time to enjoy them. Natives provide pollinators with high-quality pollen and nectar too, so a native garden bed is also a pollinator garden.

For me, fall is naturally the time to think about revamping an area or filling in an empty space. Wildflowers are inherently adapted to being sown now—how convenient for me! Plants in their native habitat bloom, form seeds, drop those seeds sometime from summer to fall (depending on the species), and then the seeds rest until spring when conditions are just right for germination. Fall sowing is done!

When prepping your own, native retreat, do thoroughly weed and loosen the soil surface and place or rake seeds in. Winter snow and rain will work the seeds into the soil, so no need to work the soil too deeply. Our late spring storms are usually enough so I don’t have to water, but if you have a dry spell in spring keep an eye on the soil moisture and water as needed. Natives wildflowers grow well in average or even poor soils, so there is no need to amend most soils. You can choose a number of species with different bloom times so your space is always colorful, but be sure to put full-sun varieties in 6 or more hours of sun so they stand tall, rather than reaching for more light.  Once seedlings are all up and have put on some growth, say the end of June, I like to toss some mulch around the sprouted plants to help keep weeds down.

After that, I add a chair, and give myself some time to stop and smell the wildflowers.

Do you have any native garden tips? Please share them in the comments!